LOR from non-professor?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
Unshake
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Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:00 pm

LOR from non-professor?

Postby Unshake » Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:45 am

I'm starting to assemble my letters of recommendation for this upcoming fall cycle and have a possibly stupid question. I'm a science major meaning I have taken a very limited number of writing courses, but think it may be good to attain a recommendation that speaks first hand of my writing abilities. Both classes I'm considering have been largely TA based (eg the TA grades papers, leads discussions, and the professor only lectures) so I have not gotten to know the professors very well. I feel like asking a TA (PhD writing student) for a recommendation would be a pretty bad idea and be taken with little/no weight in the review process? Is this a correct assumption? Should I just skip this and stick with mainly science based LORs who can speak much less of writing skills?

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Lmao Zedong
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Re: LOR from non-professor?

Postby Lmao Zedong » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:07 am

getting an LOR from a TA doesn't break any rules. particularly in your case, it sounds like it could be helpful, especially if the TA will have favorable things to say about your writing. i'd say go ahead with the letter from the TA if he/she is in a better position to evaluate you than a professor would be. if you want to play it safe, have the TA's LOR be the third, in addition to two LORs from full professors in your primary field of study.

Unshake
Posts: 90
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:00 pm

Re: LOR from non-professor?

Postby Unshake » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:56 am

So which combination do you think would be favorable:

1) Two LORs from professors of science courses one from employer (internship)

2) Two LORs from professors of science courses one from TA in writing course.

The science recommendations should speak fairly well of my work ethic/abilities...

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Lmao Zedong
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Re: LOR from non-professor?

Postby Lmao Zedong » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:49 am

i'd go with option 2 personally, but i didn't have to confront a decision like this. hard to say. in any case, whichever LOR ends up being the fourth, i'd keep it handy in case you end up on a waitlist/held/etc.

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GeePee
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Re: LOR from non-professor?

Postby GeePee » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:57 am

If your internship employer has really good things to say about you, I'd definitely include that. Especially for someone coming straight out of undergrad, someone who can write about your ability to function efficiently and maturely in a workplace environment can definitely be a boon. However, I'd go for an option (3) that's 1 Prof., 1 TA, and 1 employer, if you think that the TA would write a better rec than one of the professors. In the end, it's about getting the best letters you can. If a professor doesn't know you particularly well and would write a mediocre letter, don't bother. You want your LOR's to add something to your application, rather than just be there as an obligatory measure.




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